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A browser plugin was removed from one of the app stores last year as it had stopped working, and the author was no longer maintaining it in favor of their standalone desktop apps. I preferred using the plugin so I forked the repository on GitHub, made some changes so it worked again, and re-published it on the app store.

The source code repository said the project was licensed under Apache 2.0 which led me to believe I was free to modify and distribute the software as long as I retained the copyright notice and kept track of all the changes I made. To fulfil this obligation I made it clear in the app store description that I was not original author and linked to the GitHub fork repository where the licence and changes could be found.

About 6 months after publishing the package I received a DCMA Takedown Notice via the app store operator. The authors say I am infringing on their copyright and listed their desktop app as the copyrighted work that I am infringing on (which are not open source).

Has the author lodged an improper DCMA takedown request in this case?

  • Did you publish under the same "product" name or did you give your version a different name? – Frank Meerkötter Mar 4 '18 at 7:51
  • The code might be under Apache 2.0 but there could be things like logo or name of the software which might be trademarked (or) copyrighted – Jijo Bose Mar 4 '18 at 14:46
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On the face of it, this certainly seems like an erroneous or abusive DMCA takedown. The copyright holder had already given you rights to modify and distribute the browser extension by their Apache 2.0 license grant, and that license grant cannot be revoked, per the terms of the Apache 2.0 license.

The one thing I'd be careful of, though, is whether the entire project was licensed under the Apache license. Are there any components (code, artwork) that might be licensed differently? To put it another way: looking at this from an adversarial perspective, if I were this author and wanted to justify my DMCA takedown, I'd look for any file in the repo that I could plausibly claim was not licensed under the Apache license. If you identify any such files, you may wish to remove them to eliminate the possibility of their making any such claim.

Probably, though, this is just garden-variety DMCA abuse, and you can file a counter notice to the have the takedown reversed.

  • When removing any "bad" files, make sure you remove them from the whole git history, not from the latest commit – Ferrybig Mar 8 '18 at 7:04

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